Who doesn't love weddings, right? You get to celebrate love, celebrate a couple you love, dance to songs you love, wear fashion you love. Ah, but what fashion? That is the question. With Lana's wedding garnering headlines across social media, it's a perfect time to reconsider the deep, ancient philosophical question: what the Helsinki do I wear (to this wedding)? Perhaps it was easier for the Greeks of old: hmmm... toga 1...or toga 2. Since togas aren't really in vogue (or in Vogue) atm, we're going to explore some more modern options for looking aaaaamazing! ...But a leeeettle less aaaaaamazing than the bride ;)
First and foremost, the most crucial rule of wedding dressing is "defer to the bride". After all, it's her day. Obviously, this means "within reason", but simple things the bride may request, such as not wearing black, dressing more or less formally, or matching the wedding colors are easy ways to add happiness to the day. Note: it is generally a faux pas to match the wedding colors (you should be able to get an idea of what they are from the colors of the invitation), but some brides may ask that guests do so. Other colors to avoid (as a complete ensemble or dominant theme) are white and the ivory-champagne-eggshell family of neutrals.
Dresses are usually the first place fashionable minds run to when planning wedding outfits, and maxis/gowns are destination number one. For white tie affairs (i.e., ultra-formal...as in: even more formal than black tie....think like the Oscars version of a wedding), they're pretty much required. For those type of events, take a little inspiration from Nikki and go with a chic silhouette, something with a touch of drama...but think "sophisticated", not "seductive". Red is a classic and can be worn, if done conservatively. Try to avoid combining bright red with other standout elements, such as deep-v's, high slits, tons of lace or ruffles, a suctioned-on bodycon shape, lots of sequins, a high-shine fabric or other flashy, super eye-catching details. One dramatic detail per outfit ;). If you choose bright red, the color is it. Darker reds, like wine and oxblood are safer options and can push the envelope just a bit more in terms of embellishment and silhouette. When in doubt, however, err on the side of being more conservative. Also, be aware that certain cultures or religions may have special rules. For example, many Chinese brides wear red, so it should be avoided at traditional Chinese weddings. Also, certain churches do not allow sleeveless/spaghetti strap and similar silhouettes. The more orthodox the church, the morelikely it is that there will be a dress code, so keep that in mind when preparing an outfit.
For white tie weddings, feel free to add long (to or past the elbow ) gloves to a sleeveless dress. Sequined and crystalled accessories are appropriate for these haute occasions, which will generally be at night. In fact, time of day is a strong indicator of the level of formality of a wedding. The later in the day/evening that an event takes place, the more formal it is. For example, a night beach wedding will require dressier attire than an early morning beach wedding.
The lion's share of weddings tend to fall into the semi-formal category. For these, a simple floor-length gown is an excellent choice; a tea length piece works beautifully as well. Avoid knit fabrics, such as jerseys, as they will be too casual. Chiffons, taffeta, faille, georgette and crepe are all good options. For colors, jewel tones, pastels and neutrals (other than the aforementioned white-ivory family) are all appropriate. Again, silhouettes should be classy, rather than sexy, although if you have a sexy dress and want to make it work, add a wrap, bolero or shrug to soften the look. Accessories play a huge role in shading the ensemble toward more or less formality. Statement jewels will raise the dressiness of look, as will higher heels (and statement jewels on your higher heels ;) ). Flats will dress a look down and allow you to wear a more formal dress to a less formal occasion. Barbie's gown is a perfect example: the crystal embellishment makes it quite dressy, but her jeweled thong sandals soften that and make the piece appropriate for a semi-formal occasion. The printed halter shown here is only slightly less formal than Barbie's look, due the use of metallic block-heeled sandals as a pairing, and the chiffon material. For a casual wedding ( a beach, field, farm or picnic-type event), a cotton dress in a solid color or fun print, like the one above, is a pretty and joyful choice. Wedge heels make walking bit easier ("I'm wearing my stilettos: free lawn aeration!") and match the respectful but laidback vibe of the dress. Jeweled flat sandals like Barbie's or flats with a detail (bows, ruffles, chic studs (think Valentino Rockstud as opposed to biker dog-collar)) would be other flawless options.
While dresses are the obvious choice for a wedding, I always like to explore some less expected options as well. To that end, let's consider the skirt :). Skirts lend themselves wonderfully to casual weddings. An A-line style in a pretty print, summery color or floaty tulle (skip the mini skirts: knee-length+, please :)) can be paired with a plain colored or neutral tee. I love ballet-style pieces because they are especially chic, but nearly any neckline will work. Do avoid super-deep plunges, any and all see-through fabrics, graphics and torn looks. If you'd rather do this pairing with a pencil skirt, make it less office-y by pairing it with a pretty blouse (no plain button-downs). Bright block heeled sandals, kitten-heeled pumps or metallic flats are perfect ways to finish off this ensemble. A maxi can also make a great option for a casual wedding: a piece with crochet (look for a fully lined piece, or have a full lining added), broderie anglaise or other embellishment is a perfect starting point. Jersey skirts are potential options here, but you need a heavy material and a bit of detail: ruffles, scalloped trim, etc, to make it appropriately formal. Add a more formal top if you go the jersey route. Otherwise, a simple top makes a just-right pairing for a casually elegant maxi. Lace-up flats, low-heeled slides or feminine wedges finish off the look. To do a skirt at a semi-formal wedding, you'll need something a bit more elevated. At this level of dressiness, stay with tea length or longer. Both pencil and A-line styles are do-able; look for elements that elevate the piece - embroidery, eyelet details, beading, jewels, glamorous fabrics like jacquard, damask, or silk shantung. A chic blouse is the best pairing for this look. Consider something simple, with a dramatic detail, such as a special fold, or asymetrical neckline, or an elegant feminine piece. Sheer or lace buttondowns can work, when worn over a same-hued or neutral cami (no bandeaus, bralettes or crop tops, pretty please ;)) and look ultra-chic! This look will need heels: metallic sandals or classic pumps top the list. For an on-trend statement, add a jeweled choker. A more formal semi-formal wedding (ok, Brie: on the scale of 1 is casual, 10 is white tie, exactly how formal is it? Be precise...like three decimal points precise.) can be a place to break out a high-low skirt, or ballroom-style piece. Fabric choice is key here; you're looking for taffeta, chiffon, georgette, tulle or something with a soft sheen. Knits or crinkled fabric won't cut it. The pairing above breaks some general rules (*devil horns* :)) in terms of using white and lace, but here's why it works: first, it's a skirt and not a dress. The skirt factor lets you sneak in some things you couldn't do with a dress. Second, the white lace is paired with navy, so it doesn't look bridal. Instead, it matches the formality of the skirt. Remember that part about not using white as your only or predominant color? This is what that looks like. Black and crystal earrings and metallic pumps round out this combination. If you'r elucky enough to go to a night-time black tie event or white-tie affair, you do the most formal of skirts: the ballroom style. The same fabric rules apply as for the formal-semi-formal choices. For this type of event, stay with a floor-length piece. You'll also need to work the full formality of the skirt by topping it with a magnificent blouse. Colored lace, crystal-embellished, frothy tulle/sheer confections: that's where you're headed. Fabulous heels are the finishers for this look...and a statement bauble or two.
Welcome to the place where wrestling & fashion join hands. Inspiration. Reviews. Musings. Retros. FASHION. Covering and craving gear to gowns since 2011. May the Fierce be with you! ;) Peace & Glitter!
Brie: shoe-lover :) fashion-lover and generally glamorous semi-dork
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